2016: Fighting Bacteria with Better Dairy Practices
Reducing unnecessary antibiotic use in food animals is an important public health goal and a critical step for sustainable agriculture. Working with local dairy farms, the researchers will study the common industry practice of administering antibiotics to cows at the end of their lactation to cure existing infections and prevent mastitis. The team will survey farmers and screen colostrum (first milk) to detect antibiotic residues and resistance genes that reach calves at their first feeding. Low-risk cows might do just as well with no treatment—making dairy production more cost-efficient and slowing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.